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Road block leads to fundraising detour for county comptroller

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw faced a conundrum when he hosted a family picnic fundraiser at Elma Village Green last week. Unbeknownst to him and his staff, temporary road closures for culvert repairs made access to the park rather difficult, with the main road leading into the park entrance – Bowen Road – being closed from the south and mostly closed from the north.

Though county notice had gone out in advance of shutting down a section of Bowen Road, many fundraiser participants Tuesday evening didn't know about it or were surprised that the northern stretch that led people directly to the park entrance from Clinton Street was also unexpectedly blocked with a "road closed" sign despite smaller lettering allowing for local traffic.

So Mychajliw's volunteer staff fanned out to the blocked off intersections in bright yellow T-shirts directing folks around the northern barrier and into the park. He said he wound up with record turnout.

"It is out of character for Mark Poloncarz to show a sense of urgency to fix roads," he said, taking a dig at the county executive. "But I think it's wonderful. I'll never complain about roads getting fixed. And I did not in this case, for the record."

County officials responded that the road closures were pre-planned and not politically orchestrated in any way. Any fundraiser attendees who suggest otherwise need to decide whether they want to criticize Poloncarz for not fixing county roads, or criticize him for fixing them too fast.


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